Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M hockey romance from Genevieve Chamblee. ICE GLADIATORS is the third book in her Locker Room Love series, but able to be enjoyed on its own.
Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the $10 Amazon GC raffle.
About the book:
Dalek “Taz” Tazandlakova is the epitome of a hockey player—tall, broad, and powerful. As a forward for the Lafayette Ice Water Moccasins, he’s also the physical embodiment of domination and intimidation.
He’s everything Liam Jolivet isn’t.
Liam possesses an inner strength and confidence Taz has never mastered. On the surface, Liam appears to be a perfect match for Taz. The problem is, Liam is dating Taz’s roommate. It’s not the only problem, either. Taz is a “playa” and has commitment issues—along with a pain-in-the-ass coach who’s threatening to ruin his career, and a second roommate who wants to dictate his social life for his own personal gain.
Nevertheless, Taz wants Liam, and Liam appears to want to reciprocate. Do they dare cross the line?
How about a little taste?
“Actually, you’re more likely to get jabbed in the ribs or guts than beat over the head. That’s too obvious a penalty.” Taz reclined on the sofa. “The entire point of sticking is to move someone out of your way or send a message without getting caught. Hockey’s physical and intense, but it isn’t vicious. We respect each other, even if we don’t always like each other. We hit hard, but it’s without malice. At the end of the day, it’s our job. Besides, I thought this kind of thing turned you on. At least, that’s what Jackson said.”
“I said what?”
“You said he liked hockey. Obviously, he doesn’t.”
Spencer’s brows furrowed. “I’m right here. You can talk to me.”
“I said no such thing,” Jackson, Taz’s other roommate, rebutted, picking through the mixed nuts.
Victor set the bowl on a table. “And that’s my cue to leave.”
“What did I miss?” Liam Jolivet questioned, carrying three beers and two soft drinks.
“Nothing,” Victor answered. “Hand them their drinks. You and I are watching the rest of the game in my bedroom.”
“Pfft.” Jackson snorted. “You’re leaving to fuck.”
At least someone’s getting lucky tonight, Taz thought. And with a hottie like Liam, why not?
Victor frowned. “And what’s it to you?”
Taz shook his head. “Wow, Jack, that was tacky, even for you.”
“Calling them like I see them.”
“You must have cataracts in both eyes, then,” Taz huffed.
“What did you mean by sticking sending a message?” Liam asked, distributing the drinks.
“Not that kind of sticking,” Jackson interjected before Taz replied. “But if you have to ask, Vic must not be handling business.”
“Fuck you, Jack,” Victor barked.
Jackson smirked. “That’s what I meant.”
“Shut up and drag your mind out of the sewer. Come on, Liam.”
“Okay, just a minute. I want to hear Taz’s answer.”
“Suit yourself,” Victor snapped, storming down the hallway and slamming a bedroom door.
Twisting the cap off his beer, Taz stared after Victor for a moment before turning his attention to Liam. “You’d better go.”
“I will, but I’m interested in what you were saying.” Liam plopped on the couch, his soulful brown eyes genuinely intrigued. He bore a meet-your-parents smile with a hint of danger that stirred Taz’s curiosity. “I know you probably get sick of all my questions every time I come over, but search engines only tell so much—computer-compiled facts. You give not only the human aspect but spill an inside scoop. It’s not like Victor ever tells me this stuff.”
“It’s an intimidation tactic,” Taz answered. “If guys know you hit, they don’t hit you or your teammates.”
Spencer clicked his tongue. “As I said: barbaric.”
Taz waved his hand. “It’s part of the game—not a nice part, but there it is. And it’s a lot tamer these days with league regulations than several years ago. Back in the day—”
“Liam!” Victor yelled from the bedroom.
“You’re being summoned, fuck boy.” Jackson laughed.
A flush swarmed up Liam’s throat to his face as he rose and trekked to the bedroom.
“He’s too easy.” Jackson chuckled.
Taz rolled his head across the back of the couch to face his roommate. “Why do you do that?”
Jackson shrugged and took a swig of beer.
Though this book is linked to the Locker Room Love series, we do not have a lot of recurrent characters.
Dalek, who goes by “Taz”, is a Swedish hockey player playing for the Ice Water Mocassins, a farm team for the nearby St. Anne Civets, both in suburbs of New Orleans, Louisiana. Taz is notable for his technical skating and his blue hair color, and regularly mocked by his abusive coach. His ice time is continually threatened, especially since he won’t go in for his coach’s idea of instigating fights to increase visibility and bring in more fans. The bigger problem, Tax thinks, is their proximity to the Civets–and how their arena is a dump no one would want to sit in for a lackluster team, no matter how many fights they start.
Taz had two roommates, Jackson and Victor, who are both gay, like Taz. They share the rent of a low-budget apartment, and Taz feels and especial loyalty to these two guys because they help him from being homeless. Tax’s own parents don’t really want anything to do with him; his mother having dumped him on his father who is wealthy but disinterested. Victor’s boyfriend Liam seems more attracted to Taz than Victor, and this is the main personal conflict for Taz–he likes Liam, who is a go-getter and interesting, but he’s unwilling to upset Victor. Liam claims he and Victor aren’t truly together, and that Victor has another boyfriend but both Victor and Jackson state Taz would be poaching if he hooks up with Liam. In fact, Jackson has a perfect candidate for Taz to date: a smarmy blowhard named Spencer who’s likely to reward Jackson with a promotion if Tax will put out.
For me, the story was convoluted and disjointed. I’ve read the two previous titles in this series, and I would likely rank it a distant second in terms of enjoyment behind the first book, and slightly ahead of book two which I didn’t like much at all. Taz and Liam are a mixed bag, they seem pretty likable, but I didn’t really get the feel of them. Taz seems to have everything going wrong in his life, and he keeps getting swept out to sea by one calamity or another. The idiot coach and his rants was a weird subplot that didn’t get adequately explained or resolved. The sexytimes read more awkward than sexy, and the dialogue alternated between juvenile and inordinately descriptive–in a preachy manner. Taz’s roommates were weird, and the nefarious plots to interfere with Taz’s happiness for their own personal gain seemed Scooby-Doo-ish, as well. Like, I struggled to comprehend how Taz didn’t see through their machinations. This was a breezy-take on the hockey romance that seemed stereotypical, more than sentimental.
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About the Author:
Genevive Chamblee is a southern darling and resides in the bayou country where sweet tea and SEC football reign supreme. She is known for being witty (or so she thinks), getting lost anywhere beyond her front yard (the back is pushing it as she’s very geographically challenged), falling in love with shelter animals (and she adopts them), asking off-the-beaten-path questions that makes one go “hmm,” and preparing homecooked Creole meals that are as spicy as her writing.
Genevive specializes in spinning steamy, romantic tales with humorous flair, diverse characters, and quirky views of love and human behavior. She also is not afraid to delve into darker romances as well.